In Jordan, ‘Mansaf in a Cup’ Creates a Food Controversy

Is “mansaf in a cup” a novel way to enjoy the country’s most treasured delicacy, or an affront to its most hallowed traditions?

#amman-jordan, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #jordan, #karak-jordan, #lamb, #restaurants

Rumbling Through Modern Jordan, a Railway From the Past

Once an ambitious project to unite the Middle East, the antique Hejaz Railway is a relic of that bygone dream before wars, borders and more advanced modes of transport rendered its services obsolete.

#abdullah-i-king-of-jordan, #air-conditioning, #amman-jordan, #jordan, #lawrence-of-arabia-movie, #medina-saudi-arabia, #ottoman-empire, #railroads, #restoration-and-renovation, #world-war-i-1914-18

Arab Rulers and Spy Chiefs Stashed Millions in Swiss Bank

A leak of account data from Credit Suisse revealed the holdings of powerful figures across the Middle East, raising new questions about self-dealing.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #banking-and-financial-institutions, #bin-said-qaboos, #central-intelligence-agency, #corruption-institutional, #credit-suisse-group-ag, #egypt, #jordan, #middle-east, #mubarak-alaa, #mubarak-gamal, #mubarak-hosni, #oman, #politics-and-government, #rania-queen-of-jordan, #suddeutsche-zeitung, #suleiman-omar, #switzerland

A Photographer’s View of Jordan’s Many Splendors

For 10 days, a photojournalist drove across Jordan from north to south, visiting several of the country’s most treasured sites. Here’s what he saw.

#amman-jordan, #dead-sea, #deserts, #gulf-of-aqaba, #jerash-jordan, #jordan, #petra-jordan, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #red-sea, #road-trips, #travel-and-vacations

Jordan’s Army Kills 27 in Drug Bust on Syrian Border

The Jordanian Army said that soldiers fired on suspected smugglers as they tried to cross the border under cover of a snowstorm.

#amphetamines, #deaths-fatalities, #defense-and-military-forces, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #jordan, #jordanian-army, #smuggling, #syria

Did We Miss Biden’s Most Important Remark About Russia?

Putin has something bigger to worry about at home than anything that happens in Ukraine.

#arctic-regions, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #ecopeace-middle-east, #global-warming, #israel, #jordan, #middle-east, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #saudi-arabia, #siberia, #united-arab-emirates

On Syria’s Ruins, a Drug Empire Flourishes

Powerful associates of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, are making and selling captagon, an illegal amphetamine, creating a new narcostate on the Mediterranean.

#amphetamines, #assad-bashar-al, #assad-maher-al, #bekaa-valley-lebanon, #damascus-syria, #defense-and-military-forces, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #drug-cartels, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #greece, #hezbollah, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #italy, #jordan, #latakia-syria, #lebanon, #malaysia, #mediterranean-sea, #methamphetamines, #middle-east, #politics-and-government, #ports, #saudi-arabia, #ships-and-shipping, #smuggling, #syria-report-the, #war-and-armed-conflicts

For Many Members of the Arab American Diaspora, Mansaf Offers a Taste of Home

The traditional Bedouin dish of bread, rice, lamb and yogurt is a talisman of identity in Jordan — and in various communities in suburban Detroit.

#arab-americans, #bedouins, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #dearborn-mich, #detroit-mich, #food, #immigration-and-emigration, #jordan, #restaurants, #rice, #t-winter-travel, #travel-and-vacations, #yemeni-americans

Jordan’s King Among Leaders Accused of Amassing Secret Property Empire

A leak of nearly 12 million files suggested King Abdullah II was among 35 current and former leaders to use secret shell companies to hide their wealth.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #high-net-worth-individuals, #international-consortium-of-investigative-journalists, #jordan, #royal-families, #tax-shelters

Egyptian ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a $1.5B SPAC merger

Cairo and Dubai-based ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a merger with special purpose acquisition company Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, Swvl said Tuesday. The deal will see Swvl valued at roughly $1.5 billion.

Swvl was founded by Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah in 2017. The trio started the company as a bus-hailing service in Egypt and other ride-sharing services in emerging markets with fragmented public transportation.

Its services, mainly bus-hailing, enables users to make intra-state journeys by booking seats on buses running a fixed route. This is pocket-friendly for residents in these markets compared to single-rider options and helps reduce emissions (Swvl claims it has prevented over 240 million pounds of carbon emission since inception).

After its Egypt launch, Swvl expanded to Kenya, Pakistan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The company also moved its headquarters to Dubai as part of its strategy to become a global company.

Swvl offerings have expanded beyond bus-hailing services. Now, the company offers inter-city rides, car ride-sharing, and corporate services across the 10 cities it operates in across Africa and the Middle East.

Queen’s Gambit, the women-led SPAC in charge of the deal, raised $300 million in January and added $45 million via an underwriters’ overallotment option focusing on startups in clean energy, healthcare and mobility sectors.

The statement also mentions a group of investors — Agility, Luxor Capital and Zain Group — which will contribute $100 million through a private investment in public equity, or PIPE.

Per Crunchbase, Swvl has raised over $170 million. From an African perspective, Swvl features as one of the most venture-backed startups on the continent. The company has been touted to reach unicorn status in the past and will when this SPAC merger is completed.

The company will aptly trade under the ticker SWVL. The listing will make it the first Egyptian startup to go public outside Egypt and the second to go public after Fawry. It will also make the mobility company the largest African unicorn debut on any U.S.-listed exchange, beating Jumia’s debut of $1.1 billion on the NYSE. Swvl joins music-streaming platform Anghami as the second startup in the region to go public via a SPAC merger in the Middle East.

Swvl had annual gross revenue of $26 million in 2020, according to the statement, and the company expects its annual gross revenue to increase to $79 million this year and $1 billion by 2025 after expanding to 20 countries across five continents.

On why Queen’s Gambit picked Swvl for this deal, Victoria Grace, founder and CEO, said in a statement that the company fit the profile of what she was looking for: “a disruptive platform that solves complex challenges and empowers underserved populations.”

“Having established a leadership position in key emerging markets, we believe Swvl is ready to capitalize on a truly global market opportunity,” she added.

In May, TechCrunch wrote that SPACs didn’t target African startups for several reasons, including a lack of global appeal and private capital and market satisfaction. Judging by Grace’s comments, Swvl has that global appeal and is ready to venture into the public market despite being in operation for just four years.

#africa, #cairo, #crunchbase, #egypt, #finance, #funding, #jordan, #kenya, #middle-east, #pakistan, #private-equity, #saudi-arabia, #special-purpose-acquisition-company, #startups, #swvl, #tc, #transportation

How WesternUnion is fighting back against fintech startups

The saying goes that, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That may or may not be true, but at least one “old dog” is working hard to disprove that saying.

Western Union has been operating in the cross-border payments space for nearly 150 years (yes, you read that right – 150 years) and today, globally, it serves almost 150 million customers – representing senders and receivers.

In recent years, a number of fintech startups have emerged to challenge Western Union in the massive space – from Wise (formerly TransferWise) to Remitly to WorldRemit. But the payments giant seems up for the challenge and has been investing heavily in its digital operations in an attempt to beat fintechs at their own game

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a massive acceleration of the trend of all things moving to digital in nearly all industries. Money transfer was no exception. In 2020, Western Union benefited from that acceleration. Its overall digital money transfer revenues – including WU.com and its digital partnership business – climbed by 38% to more than $850 million, up from over $600 million in 2019. 

Speaking of WU.com, the company’s online transactions site, it saw a nearly 30% gain in annual active customers to 8.6 million. 

This year, the company recently projected that its digital money transfer revenues are on track to exceed $1 billion in 2021 after first-quarter revenue growth of 45% to a new quarterly high of $242 million.

Today, Western Union claims to hold the largest cross-border, digital, peer-to-peer payments network in terms of scale, revenue and channels.

The emphasis on beefing up its digital operations – an initiative that actually began in the second half of 2019, according to the company – and expanding those digital offerings to more countries led to Western Union’s overall business profile shifting over the past 15 months. 

Digital channels in 2020 made up 29% of transactions and 20% of revenue for the company’s consumer-to-consumer (C2C) business, up from 16% and 14%, respectively, in 2019.

Western Union also “open sourced” its platform to third-party financial institutions in a move it says is a “step towards creating an end-to-end payments processing hub.”

TechCrunch talked with Shelly Swanback, Western Union’s president of product and platform, about the company’s digital strategy and what’s next beyond payments for the company (hint: it involves banking products). 

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

TC: Let’s start out by hearing how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business, and what kinds of steps you took as a company to adapt?

Swanback: As COVID started playing out, just like any other company, I thought ‘What do we need to do to rally around our customers because our customers who rely on retail locations may not be able to get to their retail location as the COVID lockdowns started happening?’

One of the things we learned from that experience is this notion of everyday innovation. Innovation isn’t always blockchain or some emerging technology. Sometimes the best innovation is just about innovating every day with the products and services that you have. 

For example, we had some places in the world where we actually needed to figure out how we could do home delivery of cash. Delivering cash is different than delivering pizza as you can imagine, as there are a whole lot of regulatory items and security items. We very quickly figured out how we can deliver cash in Sri Lanka and Nepal, Jordan and some other places across the world. 

Another example lies in addressing how some folks were just a little intimidated by digital technology. I thought, ‘What if we set up a video digital location we called it where people could call in and do a video call with us and we could help them with their money transfer?’ It turned out that there actually wasn’t as much customer demand for that as we might have thought. 

But the great news — and this is a good lesson, I think, for many organizations — is what we actually did there in terms of KYC (Know Your Customer), which is a big thing in the financial services industry. So, all the technology we set up for this digital location for customers to upload their documents electronically and not have to be in front of an agent, we’re using today, just in a different way.

TC: I know Western Union has touted the fact that it has such a strong physical presence in so many locations actually benefits the growth of its digital operations as well as an expansion into other offerings beyond payments. Can you elaborate on that?

Swanback: The success and acceleration that we’re having in our digital business and of course the quarterly results are great, and we want to continue to do that. But for me, what’s most exciting is just the solid foundation and the basis gives us to build toward this idea of having a more meaningful account-based relationship with our customers and ability to offer them more than just money transfer. 

We have the fortune of having a trusted brand that’s known globally and trusted for something that’s very near and dear to our customers. What we’re hearing from our customers is they would trust us to provide additional services. So one of the things that we’re beginning to put plans in place for, and beginning to do some market tests on, is building an ecosystem or building a marketplace if you will. It will all be catered around the 270 million migrants across the world and really connecting them to each other, connecting them to their families and connecting them to merchants who want to sell them goods or provide them services that are very culturally relevant to them,  either where they happen to be living and working or providing them services back home to their families. 

Later in the fall, we’re going to be launching our first market test in Europe. We’re going to be offering a bank account, debit card, and multi-currency accounts tied of course into our money transfer services, as well as a few other things as we get closer to the market launch. But this really is our first test around providing a more comprehensive set of services.

TC: You recently announced a tie-up with Google Pay and some others. What is the significance of those partnerships?

Swanback: We want to be able to offer our cross-border capabilities and platform in more of a co-branded or white-label fashion, so that we can reach those customers that might still prefer to just be a customer of a bank. As an example, we recently announced that Google Pay users can log in to their app and can do cross-border transfers.

I think that’s an important part of our strategy– going after the direct relationship with customers and at the same time being able to offer our platform to others who already have a direct relationship with our customer. This is also part of our whole technology modernization right now of course. We’re very, very strong in the C2C segment, but the way we’re going about our technology modernization is one that provides us optionality to continue to expand in other segments  – whether it be consumer to business or business to consumer, or even business to business.

TC: Tell me more about this “modernization.”

Swanback: Like many financial organizations and many existing global organizations, part of our massive technology modernization program is moving to the cloud. So we were well on our way from migrating many of our applications to an AWS Cloud Platform. We’re pretty excited about the progress that we’re making there.

Also, over the last 12 to 18 months, we’ve migrated a good portion of our customer agent transactions, like the core of our data, to Snowflake. We;’ve mined 33 data warehouses, and we’ve got 20 petabytes of data in the cloud. And so, that in itself is just this is just the starting point. We’re modernizing our apps on top of this data foundation and really starting to use artificial intelligence and machine learning. But we’re not using it in the back end processes like many other organizations who were using it for operational interactions with our customers. We’re using it in the front office. For example, we launched a telephone money transfer product where a customer talks to a virtual assistant and it’s 100% digitized. It’s actually one of the best customer experiences we’ve seen.

#artificial-intelligence, #aws, #bank, #banking, #business, #cross-border-payments, #debit-card, #e-commerce, #economy, #europe, #finance, #google, #jordan, #machine-learning, #marketing, #nepal, #online-shopping, #payments, #payments-network, #peer-to-peer, #president, #remitly, #sri-lanka, #supply-chain-management, #tc, #virtual-assistant, #western-union, #worldremit

Royal Drama Unfolds in Court, but a Prince at the Center of It Is Absent

Two prominent figures are on trial in Jordan accused of plotting to destabilize the kingdom. One is an adviser to Saudi Arabia’s leader, and the Saudis have been trying to disrupt the trial.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #awadallah-bassem, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #bin-zaid-sharif-hassan, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #hamzah-bin-hussein-prince-of-jordan, #international-relations, #jordan, #middle-east, #political-prisoners, #politics-and-government, #royal-families, #saudi-arabia, #treason-and-sedition, #trump-donald-j, #united-states

Royal Rivalry Bares Social Tensions Behind Jordan’s Stable Veneer

The standoff between King Abdullah II and his half brother, Prince Hamzah, wasn’t just palace intrigue. It hinted at Saudi meddling and highlighted wider tensions within Jordan’s complex society.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #amman-jordan, #corruption-institutional, #hamzah-bin-hussein-prince-of-jordan, #jordan, #royal-families

Education non-profit Edraak ignored a student data leak for two months

Edraak, an online education non-profit, exposed the private information of thousands of students after uploading student data to an unprotected cloud storage server, apparently by mistake.

The non-profit, founded by Jordan’s Queen Rania and headquartered in the kingdom’s capital, was set up in 2013 to promote education across the Arab region. The organization works with several partners, including the British Council and edX, a consortium set up by Harvard, Stanford, and MIT.

In February, researchers at U.K. cybersecurity firm TurgenSec found one of Edraak’s cloud storage servers containing at least tens of thousands of students’ data, including spreadsheets with students’ names, email addresses, gender, birth year, country of nationality, and some class grades.

TurgenSec, which runs Breaches.UK, a site for disclosing security incidents, alerted Edraak to the security lapse. A week later, their email was acknowledged by the organization but the data continued to spill. Emails seen by TechCrunch show the researchers tried to alert others who worked at the organization via LinkedIn requests, and its partners, including the British Council.

Two months passed and the server remained open. At its request, TechCrunch contacted Edraak, which closed the servers a few hours later.

In an email this week, Edraak chief executive Sherif Halawa told TechCrunch that the storage server was “meant to be publicly accessible, and to host public course content assets, such as course images, videos, and educational files,” but that “student data is never intentionally placed in this bucket.”

“Due to an unfortunate configuration bug, however, some academic data and student information exports were accidentally placed in the bucket,” Halawa confirmed.

“Unfortunately our initial scan did not locate the misplaced data that made it there accidentally. We attributed the elements in the Breaches.UK email to regular student uploads. We have now located these misplaced reports today and addressed the issue,” Halawa said.

The server is now closed off to public access.

It’s not clear why Edraak ignored the researchers’ initial email, which disclosed the location of the unprotected server, or why the organization’s response was not to ask for more details. When reached, British Council spokesperson Catherine Bowden said the organization received an email from TurgenSec but mistook it for a phishing email.

Edraak’s CEO Halawa said that the organization had already begun notifying affected students about the incident, and put out a blog post on Thursday.

Last year, TurgenSec found an unencrypted customer database belonging to U.K. internet provider Virgin Media that was left online by mistake, containing records linking some customers to adult and explicit websites.

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#articles, #british-council, #ceo, #computing, #cyberspace, #education, #edx, #email, #harvard, #jordan, #linkedin, #mit, #online-education, #phishing, #security, #server, #spamming, #spokesperson, #stanford, #united-kingdom, #virgin-media, #web-server

Jordan’s King Says Royal Family Rift Is Over

The government has accused King Abdullah II’s half brother, Prince Hamzah, of undermining national security, and arrested several of his associates.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #hamzah-bin-hussein-prince-of-jordan, #jordan, #royal-families

As Jordan Seeks to Quell Royal Feud, Allies of Prince Remain in Detention

The country’s royal family said Prince Hamzah had now pledged his loyalty to King Abdullah II. The government banned news outlets and social media users from discussing the rare public show of conflict.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #amman-jordan, #hamzah-bin-hussein-prince-of-jordan, #jordan, #politics-and-government

Jordan’s Ex-Crown Prince Vows to Defy Efforts to Silence Him

In a recording posted on Twitter, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein said that he would not rein in his criticism of the king, deepening a royal rift.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #hamzah-bin-hussein-prince-of-jordan, #jordan, #political-prisoners, #politics-and-government, #royal-families

Divided Kingdom: Jordan Shaken by Split Between King and Ex-Crown Prince

A royal rift laid bare. Key figures arrested. Rumors of a failed coup attempt. An intense bout of palace intrigue has knocked Jordan’s image as a reliable bulwark in a turbulent part of the world.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #hamzah-bin-hussein-prince-of-jordan, #jordan, #politics-and-government, #royal-families

Jordan Arrests High-Profile Figures, Citing Security Reasons

Those arrested included a member of the royal family and a longtime confidante of King Abdullah II. It is a rare episode of political intrigue involving the normally stable kingdom.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #jordan, #politics-and-government

‘I Was Failing’: Bystanders Carry Guilt From Watching George Floyd Die

Their pain has been mostly hidden for the last 10 months. But over the first week of Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, it spilled tearfully into the open as witnesses testified to their shared trauma.

#chauvin-derek-1976, #cup-foods-minneapolis-minn-retailer, #floyd-george-d-2020, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #jordan, #minneapolis-minn

Women, 86 Percent Absent From Jordan’s Work Force, Are Left Behind

“As long as women are absent from the labor market, they are absent from the public sphere,” one advocate said.

#discrimination, #jordan, #labor-and-jobs, #wages-and-salaries, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

A Decade After the Arab Spring, Autocrats Still Rule the Mideast

The popular uprisings of 2011 mostly failed, but they gave the region a taste for democracy that continues to whet an appetite for change.

#assad-bashar-al, #bahrain, #ben-ali-zine-el-abidine, #cairo-egypt, #iran, #iraq, #jordan, #lebanon, #middle-east, #middle-east-and-north-africa-unrest-2010, #mubarak-hosni, #muslim-brotherhood-egypt, #muslims-and-islam, #nahyan-mohamed-bin-zayed-al-1961, #obama-barack, #politics-and-government, #qaddafi-muammar-el, #russia, #saudi-arabia, #sudan, #syria, #tahrir-square-cairo, #trump-donald-j, #tunisia, #turkey, #united-arab-emirates, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #war-and-armed-conflicts, #yemen

Sneaker enthusiast group SoleSavy raises $2M, setting the stage for a community-driven commerce boom

SoleSavy, a community built around buying hot sneakers and related items that are increasingly hard to acquire at retail, raised $2M in a round that closed late last year. SoleSavy is a group of communities that is currently mostly hosted on Slack. 

SoleSavy’s co-founders Dejan Pralica and Justin Dusanj founded the company in 2018 as a paid community for collectors and enthusiasts seeking pairs that were getting snapped up by bots or resellers. Pralica previously co-founded Kicks Deals, a sneaker shipping site focused on less than retail pricing and Dusanj is the former Director of Operations at New Age Sports, a Nike retailer. 

SoleSavy’s $2M party raise includes investment from Panache Ventures, Jason Calacanis’ LAUNCH, Turner Novak, Ben Narasin, Morning Brew’s Alex Liberman and Austin Rief, Tiny Capital, Wesley Pentz (yes, Diplo), Matthew Hauri aka Yung Gravy, Ryan Holmes, Roham Gharegozlou and Bedrock Capital.

SoleSavy has built an engaged community (several communities, really) around the ebb and flow of the sneakerhead consumer universe (SCU). I just coined that, by the way, please make it a thing. The SCU is an interesting place filled with fascinating characters and behaviors. Every once in a while it pokes its head into the mainstream, whether via a documentary, a hot shoe release or a stron-garm robbery attempt. In 2021, I believe that we will see more of this world breaking out of its box into the larger consumer consciousness. 

The trends that are leading us to this place are varied, but some of them have been front and center during the pandemic, as a decade’s worth of consumer behavioral change has occurred in the space of a few months. You only have to look at how hard it was to get a PS5 or Xbox One X or a GPU for the holiday season, and how many services, Twitter accounts and monitor groups rose up to try to help people do that to see what the future of shopping looks like. 

I joked about not being able to buy butter without a bot, but it’s not far from the truth — nearly every category of goods has had its own shortages over the last year. But the mother of all limited goods category for decades now has been sneakers. 

Every release is hotly anticipated and eagerly purchased by people looking for the latest shoe. The massive increase in interest in the sneaker as the marquee desirable item and the unwillingness of the biggest manufacturers to lose the hype halo has led to each drop being harder to get than the last. Second-market startups like StockX and GOAT have sprung up to facilitate those who don’t mind paying 30%-200% premiums on each release. 

The solution for many lies in the countless ‘cook groups’ that help buyers anticipate demand and stock for each drop and plan to purchase them on release date. 

SoleSavy’s function is ostensibly to do just that: help regular enthusiasts to strategize and execute the release day cop. But beyond that, Pralica says that the group has come to be about the community of people around those shoes more than the purchase itself. 

SoleSavy is at its heart a slack group (a series of groups actually that act as cohorts, leading people through the tiers of community that the team has built) with rooms that help people to understand what’s happening in sneakers, get the releases and commiserate around the culture. Pralica says that they’ve built that community out slowly (the waitlist for the group grows by 400 people per day) in order to maintain a positive atmosphere and to properly onboard new people to the group. They also have an app that drives push notifications and a podcast. 

That positive community vibe is what Pralica says is SoleSavy’s long-term focus and differentiating factor that keeps the 4,000 members across the US and Canada interacting with the group on a nearly daily basis.

I’ve been in a dozen or so different groups focused on buying large quantities of each release to re-sell over the years and many of them are, at best, rowdy and at worst toxic. That’s an environment that SoleSavy wanted to stay away from, says Pralica. Instead, SoleSavy tries to court those who want to buy and wear the shoes, trade them and yes, maybe even resell personal pairs eventually to obtain and wear another grail.

Though cook groups have been the ‘core’ of the Discord and Slack-based communities in the sneaker world, other iterations have been booming too. Entrepreneurial communities based in the same hustle principles like Tyler Blake’s In This Economy and fanbase-focused groups around popular streamers top the Disboard. And bets on social token outfits like Zora are also focused on community as the glue that holds together a user base. 

Community is the future of all commerce, whether you’re looking for a specific product (see the huge PS5 monitors) or want to steep yourself in a particular universe of product interest (the SCU). The trends that I’ve been seeing all point to 2021 being the year that community-driven purchasing breaks out of the underbelly of fandom and becomes officially “a thing”.

SoleSavy has been experimenting with a variety of ways to keep the community knit going including live chats, get togethers and even a handsome custom community-designed Jordan 1. These efforts have driven the previously bootstrapped company to some impressive early numbers. Pralica says that SoleSavy is currently profitable, with $1.5M ARR on $33 monthly subscriptions plus affiliate revenue and that their DAUs are at 90% — an engagement number that would make any retailer salivate. 

Though the funding closed (very) late last year I thought that this would be a great kick off story for the year ahead. Though SoleSavy seems to have a really compelling story and a great growth curve, I think they’re at the tip of a very large trend, one that we will see continue to build throughout the year. 

 

#bedrock-capital, #ben-narasin, #canada, #culture, #fashion, #footwear, #goat, #holmes, #jason, #jordan, #nike, #shoe, #shoes, #slack, #sneakers, #stockx, #tc, #tiny-capital, #turner-novak, #united-states

Ditching the Turkey: Thanksgiving Memories (and Misadventures) of Reporters Abroad

Some of our international journalists have gone to great lengths trying to bring a taste of home to their new locations. But it hasn’t always worked out.

#baghdad-iraq, #beirut-lebanon, #gettleman-jeffrey, #japan, #jordan, #new-york-times, #news-and-news-media, #thanksgiving-day, #turkeys, #yee-vivian

Muslim Countries Denounce French Response to Killing of Samuel Paty, Urge Boycott

While the French have supported their government’s crackdown, it has opened the country to criticism that its complicated relationship with French Muslims has taken an ugly turn.

#bangladesh, #boycotts, #discrimination, #erdogan-recep-tayyip, #france, #freedom-of-speech-and-expression, #international-relations, #jordan, #kuwait, #macron-emmanuel-1977, #muslims-and-islam, #politics-and-government, #saudi-arabia, #terrorism

What America’s Coronavirus Response Looks Like Abroad

From lockdowns to testing, we showed people around the world the facts and figures on how the U.S. has handled the pandemic.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #coronavirus-reopenings, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #europe, #great-britain, #jordan, #new-zealand, #politics-and-government, #quarantines, #singapore, #tests-medical, #unemployment

As Annexation Looms, Israeli Experts Warn of Security Risks

Unilaterally taking territory the Palestinians have counted on for a state could cement Benjamin Netanyahu’s legacy. It could also destabilize the region.

#abdullah-ii-king-of-jordan, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #israel, #jordan, #netanyahu-benjamin, #palestinians, #west-bank

Annexing the West Bank Would Hurt Israel

A conservative American commentator on Middle Eastern affairs gives six reasons to believe that taking over Palestinian territory would harm both U.S.-Israel relations and Israel’s status as the Jewish state.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #gaza-strip, #haaretz, #iran, #israel, #jerusalem-israel, #jordan, #middle-east, #netanyahu-benjamin, #palestinians, #persian-gulf, #presidential-election-of-2020, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #west-bank, #zionism

Microloans, Seen as Salvation for Poor Women, Trap Many in Debt

In Jordan, an unregulated microloan industry offers easy money. But with no way to repay loans, many women end up buried in debt, or in prison.

#credit-and-debt, #entrepreneurship, #jordan, #microfinance, #poverty, #prisons-and-prisoners, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #small-business, #women-and-girls